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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This evening I drew a blank

I teach a geometry/algebra course for middle school teachers at our local university. I did not develop the course, hence I use materials collected from other professors. I generally follow the homework schedule and assignments of other profs. I fielded a question from one of my students about a homework problem I felt comfortable dealing with, but for which I had not quite worked out all the details. There was a very obvious triangular number pattern, for which I know, on a good day, a general approach to identify the pattern based on consecutive digits. This problem's pattern had a (x-1)(x-2)÷2 pattern, which I saw, but could not quite identify and I was left staring at the board. After some time, I turned to the class and told them that while I could see the pattern, I could not name it.

I don't know why I drew such a terrible blank. I felt guilty not having the answer, but worse than that, I felt that I let them down with my lack of finesse in that moment.

I am a good teacher, sometimes a great one, and still there are times when I come a big ZERO, even on problems I should and often do know.

Has that ever happened to you?


Anonymous said...
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DWees said...

Looks like you are being attacked by spam!

I've totally done this too, just last week but in front of younger students.

It happens, just come back to the next class with a solution and all is well.